On the edge of a forest at the base of a mountain this house was designed to sit comfortably within the landscape and make the most of the expansive views over the dairy farms. The house is situated in a special place on the south coast of Australia where it is not uncommon to see a wombat stroll across the lawn or a wallaby bound by the pool. A recycled brick wall grows out of the ground running the length of the house.
The spectacular views are shielded by the wall as one enters on the northern side delaying the revelation until the corner is turned into the living space. The 3 pavilions designed by Edward Birch, lightweight in their construction contrast the solidity of the brick wall and are clad in Australian hardwood allowed to silver and blend seamlessly with the trees surrounding the house. The roofs of the pavilions warp up to catch the northern light, providing dynamic and sculptural ceilings in the internal spaces. The high windows capture views of the trees beyond creating a tranquil feeling of being surrounded by nature.
The eastern pavilion houses the master suite, the central pavilion houses the living and dining rooms while the western pavilion contains the guest bedrooms. This layout allows for the pavilions to be closed off from one another allowing for the house to be tailored to the number of people staying. As the house has no main water connections the custom formed gutters, while providing a sharp architectural line around the building, serve a practical purpose of collecting the rainwater to be stored in underground tanks and recirculated around the building.
The recycled bricks have a wash over them to provide a warmth and softness, not often associated with bricks. The concrete slab cantilevers out from the wall below and the edge is left off-form, the landscaping is then left to grow under the slab. From the recycled bricks, rough oak floor to the zinc bench top in the kitchens the internal materials are intended to be imperfect, to mark and scratch and to tell the story of the lives lived inside the house. As the timber cladding silvers and the wash on the bricks get eroded away, the house ages gracefully and settle into the landscape around it.
Design, info and images © Edward Birch